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JUST for Geeks

Bosch Analyses Stains at IFA 2017

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Bosch Analyses Stains at IFA 2017

IFA is traditionally the home of weird and wonderful gadgets, but the winner for the 2017 award for weirdest and most wonderful might be no other than German conglomerate Bosch and its prototype clothing stain analyser.

Dubbed the X-Spect, the handheld device looks like a TV remote and comes complete with a small screen and capacitive touch buttons. It essentially scans fabrics and stains before suggesting how to best wash the garment in question. An IFA demonstration even had the X-Spect paired via wifi with a Bosch washing machine, allowing it to send optimal washing instructions.

That said, the current model can only determine two component materials in a fabric, and is able to read four different types of stains, including chocolate and lipstick. However Bosch plains to increase the number to 16 to match with Bosch washing machine stain-cleaning presets.

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Farewell, iPod nano and shuffle

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Farewell, iPod nano and shuffle

A pair of iconic Apple devices bite the dust as the company pulls the iPod nano and shuffle from its online retail site, three years after it stopped making the iPod classic.

In fact, the dedicated websites for the nano and shuffle now redirect to the Apple Music site with no so much of a word of explanation.

“Today, we are simplifying our iPod lineup with two models of iPod touch now with double the capacity starting at just $199 and we are discontinuing the iPod shuffle and iPod nano,” an Apple statement to TechCrunch reads. As such, the iPod touch is now available in 32 and 128GB capacities, with the 16 and 64GB also no longer available.

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Atari Returns to Game Consoles

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Atari Returns to Game Consoles

Here's for unexpected comebacks-- following the E3 2017 tease of a "brand new Atari product," the once iconic games company reveals the Ataribox, a console featuring a look reminiscent of classic Atari hardware.

Described in an announcement newsletter to fans as "a new product that stays true to our heritage while appealing to both old and new fans of Atari," little is actually known about the Ataribox. As mentioned earlier, the design is inspired by old Atari machines and complete with wood paneling, ribbed lines and raised back. It will come in either wood or black/red finishes.

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The Camera-Equipped Smart Wallet

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The Camera-Equipped Smart Wallet

The Volterman adds a high-tech security twist to the regular wallet-- the "smart" wallet features GPS and 3G connectivity, as well as a RFID protection and a camera allowing it snap pictures of would-be thieves.

The wallet essentially packs the internals of a somewhat dated smartphone, only without the screen. Users can pair it with their phones via Bluetooth 5.0, providing an alarm in case the wallet is lost. The GPS helps in the finding of said wallet, while 3G connectivity turns it into a wifi hotspot.

The aforementioned camera is an optional extra. It switches on when the camera is in lost mode, and snaps and sends photos of anyone who opens the wallet. Powering it are 512MB of RAM and a battery one can also use to charge other mobile devices.

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Steve Jobs Turtleneck Makes a Comeback

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Steve Jobs Turtleneck Makes a Comeback

Apple aficionados rejoice-- the black turtleneck that made the uniform of the late Steve Jobs is making a comeback of sorts as Issey Miyake, the company behind garment, announces a new version.

The original black turtleneck was officially retired on 2011, after the death of Jobs. As such the company insists the new turtleneck, designed by Miyake protégé Yusuke Takahashi, is a different model. Dubbed the "Semi-Dull T," it features a trimmer silhouette with higher shoulders, and is made from 60% polyester and 40% cotton. That said it ultimately looks like, well, a black turtleneck.

Steve Jobs' iconic turtleneck and jeans look actually has an interesting backstory. As Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson puts it, he was inspired to create an Apple uniform after visiting Sony in the 1980s, where every employee (from the lowliest factory worker to co-founder Akio Morita) wore the same outfit, a blue-and-white work jacket.

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Nintendo Follows NES Classic With SNES

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Nintendo Follows NES Classic With SNES

After the runaways success that was the NES Classic Nintendo presents a 16-bit sequel-- the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, a palm-size version of the legendary games machine.

Released in Europe back in 1992 (nearly 2 years after it first hit the Japanese market), the SNES is considered as the home of some the greatest games of all time. These include classics such as Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario Kart, Super Metroid and F-Zero. The miniature rerelease has all those titles built-in, together with the likes of Final Fantasy III, EarthBound and Street Fighter II.

In total the SNES Classic contains 21 games, one of which was actually never released-- Star Fox 2, the sequel to Star Fox (aka Starwing in Europe), a shoot 'em up one can also find in the machine. Like the NES Classic, the SNES Classic connects to modern TVs via HDMI, a USB cable provides power and a pair of wired controllers is included.

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A Stealth Startup for Better VR?

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A Stealth Startup for Better VR?

Finnish startup Varjo emerges from stealth mode to present what it claims is a superior VR and AR headset-- "20/20," a headset with supposedly "human eye resolution" of over 70 megapixels per eye.

In comparison, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive push around 1.2MP per eye. In addition, the headset supposedly mimics how human vision works, with smaller, high-density displays filling the centre of the field of view surrounded by lower-resolution displays at the left and right edges. Eye tracking and software calculate the spot the wearer is focusing on, ensuring the eye is focused on the high-resolution display.

Prototype versions of the headset currently have a high-resolution microdisplay (similar to the OLED microdisplays found in professional broadcast cameras) mounted on top, which in turn is reflected inside the headset via mirror. The eye tracking is not in place as yet, but Varjo promises it will eventually allow for an ultra-clear viewing.

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The "Smallest, Smartest and Simplest" DJI Spark Drone

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The

Chinese drone maker DJI announces what it claims is its "smallest, smartest and simplest" drone yet-- the Spark, a palm-sized quadcopter featuring gesture-based control.

The miniature drone weighs 300g, and carries enough battery power to fly for 16 minutes. It can also shoot HD video and 12MP photos, has a 2-axis gimbal camera sabiliser, 3D sensing camera, GPS/Glonass and on-board software to mitigate shake and shutter roll. That said, what makes it really interesting is the aforementioned gesture control, allowing users to end the drone overhead and take a photo without need for a controller or app.

“Controlling a camera drone with hand movements alone is a major step towards making aerial technology an intuitive part of everyone’s daily life, from work and adventure to moments with friends and family,” the company says. “Spark’s revolutionary new interface lets you effortlessly extend your point of view to the air, making it easier than ever to capture and share the world from new perspectives.”

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The Acer Windows Mixed Reality VR Headset

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The Acer Windows Mixed Reality VR Headset

The 2017 Microsoft Build conference sees Acer announce a Windows Mixed Reality VR headset-- one available on the holiday season in a bundle including the new Microsoft motion controllers.

Also unveiled at the conference, the Microsoft motion controllers are reminiscent to the upcoming Touch controllers designed for the Oculus headset. The Microsoft controllers are wireless, and like the Touch controllers feature multiple buttons and triggers allowing users to "grasp" items within a virtual space.

However, unlike the Touch controllers, the Microsoft take on the accessories does not require an external sensors or markers-- instead, the controllers use vertically-placed glowing ring in conjunction with sensors built into the headset.

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